Bylsma named first head coach of Firebirds

Photo: Gregg Forwerck

The Seattle Kraken have named Dan Bylsma as the first head coach of their new American Hockey League affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds.

Bylsma spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Checkers, working with Kraken prospects as part of a shared affiliation with the Florida Panthers.

Before joining the Seattle organization, Bylsma served as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings for three seasons. He has extensive head coaching experience in the NHL with Pittsburgh and Buffalo, winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009 and earning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s outstanding coach in 2010-11.

Bylsma began his coaching career as an assistant with the AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in 2004-05. He later served as an assistant coach with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2006-08, and as head coach in 2008-09 before being promoted to Pittsburgh.

Internationally, Bylsma was head coach of the United States men’s hockey team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA in the IIHF World Championship three times, helping the team to bronze medals in 2015 and 2018.

A native of Grand Haven, Mich., Bylsma played 12 pro seasons from 1992 to 2004, including stints in the AHL with Rochester, Moncton, Albany, Springfield, Lowell and Cincinnati. He played 429 games in the NHL and reached the Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim in 2003.